For moms like Jennifer Hinds, Turlock Family Network is invaluable.
The private nonprofit started 17 years ago as an outgrowth of teen parenting classes offered through local schools. It operates out of the Salvation Army building on Lander Avenue, offering classes, mentoring and in-home support to a range of mainly low-income parents.
“This is my third time attending,” said Hinds, 35, of Denair. She has five children ranging in age from 8 to 18 and is in recovery from drug and alcohol problems.
“I figured it was time to learn a thing or two about how I can better assist them and how I can learn to put their feelings and thoughts first,” she said. “I have learned so much. Parenting is such a wonderful thing.”
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Hinds said her youngest daughter looks forward to the days they attend classes. They make crafts together and separately, while the parents learn how to cope with the stresses of parenting.
After operating for 14 years, Turlock Family Network closed briefly in 2011 due to lack of funding. But it reopened last year; a dinner set Tuesday is one of several fundraisers that help keep it going.
Though the organization started serving mostly younger moms, it has grown to include moms of all ages, dads and grandparents who find themselves raising grandchildren.
The main goal of Turlock Family Network is to reduce domestic violence and child abuse cases by teaching parents coping methods and how to reduce stress. Referrals come from churches, schools, lawyers, Child Protective Services and probation officers.
“I’m always learning something new,” Hinds said. “We look forward to Thursdays.”